I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t exactly been fond of Korean car manufacturers for the longest time. I thought they were badly made and rather cheap, and truth be told, they were.

In the last decade or so things have started to change to the point where they were no longer just playing catch-up with the Europeans and the Americans.

They actually started surpassing them in certain areas. I found out about this when driving a 2016 Hyundai Sonata.

It felt just as robust and expensive as a 3-Series or a C-Class, and I didn’t feel it lacked in technology or luxury.

I even liked the dynamics of it. So even though I would have laughed at the prospect of a Hyundai pickup five years ago, the news is really welcoming for me today.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Concept
The Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Concept

Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski confirmed that the decision to make the Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup has already been made, it’s just a matter of finalizing a couple of little things. The design is almost locked in and they have a pretty good idea of how they’ll market it.

The underpinnings are based on the Hyundai Tucson compact crossover. In fact, it will probably share most of the components with it, but the body will obviously be different. Think of it as Honda’s Ridgeline or Subaru’s now-defunct Baja, but probably a little bit smaller.

Hyundai themselves categorize it as a lifestyle vehicle, not a full-blooded pickup truck like an F-150 or something similar. It’s a replacement for a sedan in the ever-loving SUV world we live in, and not a workhorse. It’s a mini pickup truck if you will.

I’m still hoping it retains some pickup capabilities. I don’t expect the payload to be massive, but it should be big enough for fiberglass canopies at least. After all, it’s a lifestyle vehicle. Isn’t that kind of what it’s supposed to do?

No word on engines, but we’ll most likely find the usual array of gasoline and diesel CRD units like in the Tucson. It may be called the Santa Cruz Sport but don’t expect to find a big V8. The biggest engine we’ll see is a

It may be called the Santa Cruz Sport but don’t expect to find a big V8. The biggest engine we’ll see is a V6 if at all it gets engines larger than four-cylinders. Still, it’s not exactly big, so I expect it to be light on its feet.

The prospect of a small pickup based on a car isn’t new. A lot of manufacturers have thought about it, but none have gone through with it.

Honda has with the Ridgeline, which is moderately successful, and Subaru tried and failed with the Baja.

If executed properly and priced accordingly, I think the segment can take off. There are a ton of people who would rather have a pickup over a sedan but don’t want a full pickup truck. The Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup is targeting that audience.

Prices will start at around $25,000, which is fair in my book. All that remains to be seen is whether people can get over the Hyundai badge. If it looks anything like the Santa Cruz concept, I don’t think anyone will have an issue with the production Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup.

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Stefan Petrov
I love everything that has to do with cars. I could practically name every manufacturer and model before i could even say mom or dad. Recently i've taken up motorsport, with plans to travel to England and compete should the perfect opportunity arise. In my spare time i like to do some biking, and occasionally play the guitar.